Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Recent Books

Blue Moon (November 2019)

By Lee Child

November 18, 2019

Jack Reacher is a former military cop, trained to notice things.  He’s on a Greyhound bus, watching an elderly man sleeping in his seat, with a fat envelope of cash hanging out of his pocket.  Another passenger is watching too … obviously hoping to get rich quick.

When the mugger finally makes his move Reacher rides to the rescue.  The old man is grateful, yet he turns down Reacher’s offer to help him home.  He’s vulnerable, scared, and clearly in big, big trouble.

Elsewhere in the city, two ruthless rival criminal gangs, one Albanian, the other Ukrainian, are competing for control.  Do they have a life-and-death hold on the old guy?  Will Reacher sit back and let bad things happen?  Or can he twist the situation to everyone’s benefit?

‘This is a random universe,’ he says.  ‘Once in a blue moon things turn out just right.’

The odds are better with Reacher involved.  That’s for damn sure.

The Deserter (November 2019)

By Nelson Demille and Alex DeMille

November 18, 2019

Secrets, lies and the hunt for a mysterious traitor…

When Delia Force Captain Kyle Mercer disappeared from his post in Afghanistan, a video released by his Taliban captors made international headlines.  But circumstances were murky: did Mercer desert before he was captured?  Then a second video sent to Mercer’s army commanders leaves no doubt: the trained assassin and keeper of classified army intelligence has willfully disappeared.

When Mercer is spotted a year later in Caracas, Venezuela, top military brass task Scott Brodie and Maggie Taylor of the Criminal Investigation Division to fly to Venezuela and bring Mercer back to America – dead or alive.  Brodie knows this is a difficult mission, made more difficult by his new partner’s inexperience and by his suspicion that Taylor is reporting to the CIA.

Tense, witty and inspired by a real-life story, the new thriller from New York Times bestseller Nelson DeMille and his son, screenwriter Alex DeMille, is an absolute must read.

Ordinary People (November 2019)

By Diana Evans

November 18, 2019

Two couples find themselves at a moment of reckoning.  Melissa has a new baby and doesn’t want to let it change her.  Damian has lost his father and intends not to let it get to him.  Michael is still in love with Melissa but can’t quite get close enough to her to stay faithful.  Stephanie just wants to live a normal, happy life on the commuter belt with Damian and their three children but his bereavement is getting in the way.

Set in London to an exhilarating soundtrack, Ordinary People is an intimate study of identity and parenthood, sex and grief, friendship and ageing, and the fragile architecture of love.

The Shape of Night (November 2019)

By Tess Gerritsen

November 18, 2019

We’ve all done things we’re ashamed of …

When Ava arrives at Brodie’s Watch, she thinks she has found the perfect place to hide from her past.  Something terrible happened, something she is deeply ashamed of, and all she wants is to forget.

But the old house on the hill both welcomes and repels her, and Ava quickly begins to suspect she is not alone.  Either that or she is losing her mind.

The house is full of secrets, but is the creeping sense of danger coming from within its walls, or from somewhere else entirely?

The Guardians (November 2019)

By John Grisham

November 18, 2019

He was framed for murder.  Now he needs a miracle.

22 years ago Quincy Miller was sentenced to life without parole.  He was accused of killing Keith Russo, a lawyer in a small Florida town.  But there was no reliable witnesses and little motive.  Just the fact that Russo had botched Quincy’s divorce case, that Quincy was black in a largely all-white town and that a blood-splattered torch was found in the boot of Quincy’s car.  A torch he swore was planted.  A torch that was conveniently destroyed in a fire just before his trial.

The lack of evidence made no difference to judge or jury.  In the eyes of the law Quincy was guilty and, no matter how often he protested his innocence, his punishment was life in prison.

Finally, after 22 years, comes Quincy’s one and only chance of freedom.  An innocence lawyer and minister, Cullen Post, takes on his case.  Post has exonerated eight men in the last ten years.  He intends to make Quincy the next.

But there were powerful and ruthless people behind Russo’s murder.  They prefer that an innocent man dies in jail rather than one of them.  There’s one way to guarantee that.  They killed one lawyer 22 years ago, and they’ll kill another without a second thought.

The Wayward Girls (November 2019)

By Amanda Mason

November 18, 2019

The haunting began quietly.  The girls heard it first, the knocking inside the walls …


1976.  Loo Corvino and her sister Bee live in a run-down farm in the middle of nowhere, with their artistic parents and wild siblings.  Their mother Cathy had hoped to escape to a simpler life; instead the family find themselves isolated and shunned by their neighbours.  At the height of the stifling summer, unexplained noises and occurrences in the house begin to disturb the family, until they intrude on every waking moment…


Loo – now Lucy – is called back to her childhood home.  A group of strangers are looking to discover the truth about the house and the people who lived there.  But is Lucy ready to confront what really happened all those years ago?

Doing Time (November 2019)

By Jodi Taylor

November 18, 2019

A long time ago in the future, the secret of time travel became known to all.  Everyone seized the opportunity – and the world nearly ended.  There will always be idiots who want to change history.

And so, the Time Police were formed.  An all-powerful, international organization tasked with keeping the timeline straight.  At all costs.

Their success is legendary, and the Time Wars are over.  But now the Time Police must fight to save a very different future – their own.

This is the story of Jane, Luck and Matthew – arguably the worst recruits in Time Police history.  Or, very possibly, three young people who might just change everything.

The Accusation (October 2019)

By Wendy James

October 24, 2019

A Bizarre Abduction.  A Body of Damning Evidence.  A World of Betrayal.

After eighteen-year-old Ellie Canning is found shivering and barely conscious on a country road, her bizarre story of kidnap and escape enthralls the nation.  Who would do such a thing?  And why?

Local drama teacher Suzannah Wells, once a minor celebrity, is new to town.  Suddenly she’s in the spotlight again, accused of being the monster who drugged and bound a teenager in her basement.  As stories about Suzannah’s past emerge, even those closest to her begin to doubt her innocence.

And Ellie?  The media can’t get enough of her.  She’s a girl-power icon, a social-media star.  But is she telling the truth?

A powerful exploration of the fragility of trust and the loss of innocence.

Someone We Know (October 2019)

By Shari Lapena

October 24, 2019

It can be hard keeping secrets in a tight-knit neighbourhood.

In a tranquil, leafy suburb of ordinary streets – one where everyone is polite and friendly – an anonymous note has been left at some of the houses.

‘I’m so sorry.  My son has been getting into people’s houses.  He’s broken into yours.’

Who is this boy, and what might he have uncovered?  As whispers start to circulate, suspicion mounts.

And when a missing local woman is found murdered, the tension reaches breaking point.  Who killed her?  Who knows more than they’re telling?  And how far will all these very nice people go to protect their secrets?

Maybe you don’t know your neighbour as well as you thought you did…  

Agent Running in the Field (October 2019)

By John Le Carre

October 24, 2019

Nat, a forty-seven-year-old veteran of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, believes his years as an agent-runner are over.  He is back in London with his wife, the long-suffering Prue.  But with the growing threat from Moscow Centre, the office has one more job for him.  Nat is to take over The Haven, a defunct substation of London General with a ragtag band of spies.  The only bright light on the team is young Florence, who has her eye on Russian department and a Ukrainian oligarch with a finger in the Russia pie.

Nat is not only a spy, he is a passionate badminton player.  His regular Monday evening opponent is half his age: the introspective and solitary Ed.  Ed hates Brexit, hates Trump and hates his job at some soulless media agency.  And it is Ed, of all unlikely people, who will take Prue, Florence and Nat himself down the path of political anger that will ensnare them all.  Agent Running in the Field is a chilling portrait of our time, now heartbreaking, now darkly humorous, told to us with unflagging tension by the greatest chronicler of our age.

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